A French New Wave Filmmaker's Portrait of 1968 Los Angeles
Jacques Demy (1931-1990) will probably always be best remembered as the French New Wave director who did the pop opera The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, but in the late 1960s he came to the United States and made the English-language drama Model Shop (1969). The lead actor in Demy's American movie was Gary Lockwood, best known for his role in 2001: A Space Odyssey. The supporting actors in Model Shop were American, except for French actress Anouk Aimée — famous for her performances in La dolce vita, 8 1/2 and A Man and a Woman — who was brought over to play a key role.
Demy's great achievement in Model Shop was to paint an unforgettable portrait of LA circa 1968, capturing its sprawling, vibrant nature during a time of transition in American society. George (Lockwood), the film's protagonist, is a 26-year-old who lives with his actress-wannabe girlfriend in a ramshackle beach cottage adjacent to an oil rig. The movie covers a 24-hour period when he visits a counterculture newspaper office and pays a call on the rock band Spirit. Then he happens to encounter Lola (Aimée), and goes to her workplace, a model shop where men pay to take photos of scantily clad women. Meanwhile, George is wrestling with problems: a finance company threatens to repossess his car, his relationship with his girlfriend has soured, and — with the Vietnam War on — he's about to be drafted.
Although Model Shop is entirely in English and lovingly shot in the LA area, Demy's sensibility was not like that of Hollywood filmmakers. But if you enjoy classic European art films, you'll probably like Model Shop.
A Martini to Sip While Watching the Movie?
Model Shop is part of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment's Martini Movies series of DVD releases, and they provide a different recipe for a martini to drink while watching each film in the series. Here's the one for Model Shop:
1 part pomegranate juice
2 parts vodka
1 splash sparkling soda
2 fresh blackberries
Below I have listed all the details for the DVD containing Model Shop, which has no extras other than its theatrical trailer.
Release Date: September 8, 2009
Feature Film Runtime: 1 hour 37 minutes
MPAA Rating: PG
Aspect Ratio 1.85:1, Color